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Old May 13 2007, 04:46 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: The Netherlands
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Default Collecting Highlight (51) - Writers of the Future vol. 22 special, vol. 14 and vol. 2

A somewhat more unusual (and less sought after) item this time which I had the chance to buy on eBay not too long ago. It's a preview / giveaway copy of the latest Ron L. Hubbard - Writers of the Future anthology paperback (edited by Algis Budrys), volume 22, with the accompanying video in a black and silver presentation paper bag. The book an video were apparently wrapped in a gold gauze. The bag also holds two different bookmarks about the contest and the book.

Now this item doesn't actually feature much of Anne McCaffrey apart from the fact that we can admire her giving about 20 to 30 seconds worth of advice to science fiction writer's on the video.
Anne is a judge on the panel for Writers of the Future and in the 2006 ceremony she not only was a guest (together with Todd) at the black tie dinner/presentation (at which I think the people all got this black bag and contents) but this year she, and Tim Powers, also presented the Gold Award to Brandon Sigrist for "Life on the Voodoo Driving Range".
This ceremony was held prior to the L.A. worldcon at San Diego, at which city Anne signed books at the Galaxy Bookshop.

I searched on the internet if I could find another copy of this set but was unable to find one. I think I paid about 7 to 8 dollars for it. The eBay auction didn't mentioned the bag, only the paperback and the video and I bought it for the half minute of Anne at the 2006 workshop.

The video is titled "Writers of the Future - Giving them a Chance" and is a Taron Lexton film produced by Author Services, Inc. On the front cover of the DVD is printed that it is a "Advance viewing copy".

ISBN for the paperback is 1-59212-345-7. It's published by Hubbard's Galaxy Press and has almost 500 pages.This volume holds all the prize winning stories of 2006 and the prize winning illustrations which go with the stories. Next to those there are some advisory articles by Orson Scott Card, Bob Eggleton, Robert J. Sawyer and of course the late Ron Hubbard himself.

In Volume 14 of the series (1998) Anne wrote a short article with advice (reproduced here at the bottom of the highlight). I don't actually own this particular volume so you'll have to do with a bad quality internet picture for now.

We go even further back in time to the second (!) volume of Writers of the Future, published in 1986. That volume is especially interesting because it holds an article by Anne's hand titled: "A Thousand or So Words of Wisdom [?]". The ISBN for this volume is 0-88404-254-5 and I can heartily recommend this article. It can be found on eBay regularly and prices are usually not bad at all, especially when Anne is not mentioned seperately as one of the contributors

Some general information about the Writers and Illustrators of the Future contests can be found here and here.
Some nice pictures of the ceremony and Anne (and Todd) at the ceremony and at the Galaxy Bookshop signing can be found here.



VALUABLE ADVICE by Hugo and Nebula award-winning writer and Writers of the Future judge, Anne McCaffrey.

READ! is my first dictum for those who wish to write. You must know what others have written and how they put the book together.

DON'T GIVE UP THE DAY JOB to concentrate on writing until you earn as much from your backlist as you do from new contracts.

BUY A DICTIONARY and check your spelling. Albeit many computers include a spell checker, but I'm always arguing with mine about the words I invent that are needed in a science fiction story. I also argue the spelling, since I work with the English-Irish, the English-English and the English-American conventions as well as grammar and snytax. And if you think that's funny, it is, but it's true. My American editor once said wistfully, "Anne, your English is too Irish to be American."

LEARN TO USE A THESAURUS to improve your command of synonyms and antonyms. (Some computer programs have them online. Use it.)

Except for the word said. There is a sort of virus that affects new writers as they try to prove what a command of the English language they have. They use a new verb for the word said each time a character speaks. James Blish, one of the top SF writers of all time, slapped my wrists for "said-bookism" by showing that my character could not have "hissed" that phrase, as it contained no sibilants. Nor could he have growled out a sentence that had no r's or other fricatives. Said, answered, replied, asked (a few queried's, maybe even a stated if your character is prosaic) are all the speaking verbs you need. Unless you have special need for emphasis. Use the other speaking words sparingly. People can even use whispers, and you can write "he said in a whisper." Any but those four speaking verbs interfere with the reader's progress through your story. You don't want anything to keep him/her from reading on.

When you face that blank sheet of paper or the screen, remember the first and most important task is to TELL A STORY. (By then, of course, you will have had the necessary tools of your trade: grammar, spelling, syntax and an idea for your story.) So, TELL IT!

Over the forty-four years since I sold my first story to the late Sam Moskowitz for his magazine Science Fiction+, I used that maxim to guide me. I don't do summaries or outlines—because, then, however brief the summary, I have already told that story. (There are three outlines in the Del Rey files that have never been written...another story took their place when the contract was signed and I was ready to write. Poor Pam Strickler has never forgiven me for not writing the story that was in the outline.) But my perceptions of what would happen, and the emergence of the characters as real "people," took precedence over the sketch I had done to secure the advance. However, most writers don't get away with that. Betty Ballentine, my first editor, understood—she had the outlines for the first two that were never written.

I'll give you another very important tip that I acquired from reading The Firedrake by Cecilia Holland. In the sixties when she published her first novel at a mere twenty-one years of age, there was a great revival of thick tomes of historical fiction by Thomas Costain and Sam Shellabarger. Excellent reading, but they went on and on about the details of their historical periods—so that you'd know they did their research—until you might start flipping pages to get back to the plot and the interesting parts. Cecilia Holland used only those details that would appear noteworthy or strange to a man living in those times, 1065 in The Firedrake. However, because she had been a history major and knew her facts, somehow the reader did, too, without all that overwhelming and minute detail.

I thought to myself, what a wonderful way to get a reader into an alien ambience and a strange planet. My deathless first words, using this technique, were "Lessa woke cold." And some two million words later, I haven't stopped writing the Pern Series®.

Gordon R. Dickson, one of my writer role models, said that if the author knew what was in the drawers of the chests in the room he was writing about, what hung in the closest, or lodged in pockets and on shelves, the reader would know too, without having to be told.

I used that technique as well as another I discovered myself when I wrote The Ship Who Sang. If the writer is involved in an emotion, that, too, will be transferred through all the steps it takes to get a story from the mind, through the typescript, to page proofs, to finished edition, to the reader. I have made BBC cameramen weep to hear me read the last four paragraphs of that story. Of course, I'm weeping, too, and barely able to speak. That story came out in 1961: I wrote it as therapy for the grief I felt for the death of my father in 1954.

When readers weep because Moreta, the Dragonlady of Pern, went between on a borrowed dragon, they are not weeping for her. They are actually crying because I was so bereft when I had to put down my gallant grey hunter, Mr. Ed. I gave Master Robinton the kind of death that my brother died in 1988. I've used the anger I've felt, the frustration, the terror, and the humiliation as valid tactics to make my readers feel the emotions of the characters I invent and care what happens to them.

There is no secret way to get published. There is only one way—which is hard work, and baring parts of your own soul and life in the process—to get a novel or story published. You believe in what you're saying and you TELL THE STORY!

—Anne McCaffrey
Hans, also known as Elrhan, Master Archivist

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